Training Deliveryby Terry Wilkinson
One-to-one (task) training
One-to-one training usually happens on the job, as it involves training someone how to perform a task in the workplace. This is a common form of training and there are many pitfalls, for example:
- Showing someone the whole task in one go so they become confused
- Not allowing them to practise
- Not getting them interested in the task in the first place
- Assuming actions or standards within the task are obvious.
Here is a step-by-step guide to one-to-one training which will help you avoid those pitfalls.
How to prepare and structure a job training session
It’s as easy as ABC:
In order to ensure the trainee’s mind is prepared for learning, the first thing we must do is to WIN their attention and motivate them to want to learn.
Tell the trainee exactly what they will learn, how much time it will take and what will be expected of them during the session.
Today I will show you how to log on to your computer. It will take ten minutes; first I’ll show you, then you can have a go.
Do or say something to gain the trainee’s interest in the subject (grab their attention and make them want to listen).
- Show the end product.
- Show a picture or diagram.
- Invite a comparison between standard and sub-standard examples.
- Explain interesting background or history.
- Recount a personal experience.
- Ask a question (they have to pay attention in order to answer).
- Tell a story.
Tell the trainee what’s in it for them. What are the personal benefits to the trainee of learning this new skill?
- Safer/easier work
- Job satisfaction
- Enhanced team spirit
- More pride in their job
- Increased status
- More confidence/professionalism/proficiency
- A skill to use at home, too
Write out what you will do to gain attention (see Examples of prepared attentions).
B. Break down the task
The biggest mistake we can make when showing someone something new is to overwhelm him or her with information.
Break the task into bite-sized chunks, which the trainee can more easily absorb, and let them practise each of these to build their confidence before moving onto the next.
- Break the task down into every logical action/step you need to take when completing it. Remember all the steps (even if it’s obvious to you).
- Against each step, list all standards crucial to perform that action effectively.
- Include all information on safety, hygiene and legislation.
- Include enough information to complete the task, but not so much as to create confusion.
- Group the steps together to form appropriate stages. Decide how many steps/actions your trainee will be able to learn at a time.
Consider the trainee’s ability, the complexity of the task and the number of standards they need to remember.
- Demonstrate one stage at a time and allow the trainee to practise that stage before moving on to the next.
- Explain each stage as you demonstrate. Involve the trainee by asking questions on every standard you wish them to remember.
- Pace your trainee. Keep them in the middle of the spectrum between boredom and panic.
- Give praise/feedback.
- Sort difficulties out as they occur.
- Ensure the trainee is involved and thinking (questions) and doing (practise).
Use coaching questions so the trainee figures the learning out for themselves, rather than being told. For example:
- Why do you think I did that?
- What would happen if that wasn’t done correctly?
- What do you think I do next? Why?
Write out how you will break down the session (see Examples of prepared breakdowns).
C. Check understanding
Having taken the trainee through the task in stages, they now need to put all those stages together in order to be confident that they really can do the whole task.
Before you ask the trainee to practise the whole task unaided, do a final run through to clear up any misunderstandings. This will boost the trainee’s confidence and act as reminder.
Guide the trainee by asking them a series of questions which take them logically through the whole task (one question for each action).
Ask the trainee to practise the whole task.
- Remove any previous items, which could be copied.
- Sit back and keep quiet – don’t interrupt unless there is an error.
- Give praise.
- Ask them if they have any questions.
- Tell them when they will use the skill next at work.
Write out how you will check for understanding (see Examples of prepared check stages).
Preparation is the MEAT of the matter:
If you do not prepare well, the chances are the recipient of the training will not get what they need. You may need to do it over again, or they will be able do their job, but not well, and you will need to intervene.
Whatever happens, if you don’t prepare well, you lose out and so does your trainee.
We suggest that you take the above short list and expand it to include the things that you need to do beforehand in your own particular situation. For example, exactly what equipment and materials are needed?
You will also find that going through a structured preparation will help you remember things to include in the training, as well as getting you to a state of mind where you just know that you can do it well.